Distance Learning Impacts Menlo’s Clubs


Andrea Li

Online learning has impacted the way student leaders run their clubs. Staff illustration: Andrea Li.

Andrea Li, Staff Writer

During distance learning, Menlo students are adjusting to leading clubs and other programs over Zoom. The online format has created new challenges as it can often be isolating and difficult to manage.  

Senior William Akis, a co-editor in chief of Menlo’s Literary Magazine (Lit Mag), has found that online learning has had an immense impact on his club, especially due to the limited format of interacting with others during distance learning. “[Online learning has] actually been pretty impactful [on Lit Mag]. A lot of the stuff we did in Lit Mag was based off social interactions: open mics, […] posting up poems around the campus and handing out penny presses — things like that. So a lot of that integration sort of fell apart [during online learning],” Akis said.

For Lit Mag, online learning has also made it more difficult to motivate people to come to the club. “It’s a lot harder to motivate people to come onto a Zoom session during their lunch when they’re all online. When we were in-person, […] it was a fun thing to do,” Akis said. “Now, it’s taking up people’s lunchtimes, and people don’t want to be spending all their day online.”

Freshman Madison Brown, who is the president of the Fashion and Design club, also found that online learning makes it more difficult to run her club, especially when giving directions and gauging the attention level of club members. “I think it’s really difficult for me, personally, to lead a meeting when people have their cameras off. It’s hard [for] me to give directions […] if I don’t know if people are paying attention,” Brown said. Still, Brown expressed her understanding that club members sometimes are unable to keep their cameras on during meetings for various reasons.

She believes online learning has also been adverse for her club because there has been less interest in the club than there would be if it were in-person. “I definitely think that if [the club] were in-person, a lot more people would be interested in joining just because the meeting times would be a lot more fun since it would be hands-on,” Brown said.

However, Brown has managed to find a positive side to leading her club despite the difficulties. “I do think I am helping people learn and experience new things, so that’s made me really happy,” she said.